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‘The Walking Dead’ heads to school with free online course

walking dead-school

The zombie hordes won’t be stopped by the gates of academia.

AMC, Instructure and the University of California, Irvine have teamed up for a massive open online course (MOOC) “exploring a broad range of scholarly topics through the lens of a hypothetical zombie apocalypse.” Or should that be “hypothetical” zombie apocalypse?

Announced this morning, “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead is a free, eight-week course taught by UC Irvine faculty in the fields of social sciences, public health, physics and astronomy, and mathematics. According to the course description, the online class will tackle such topics as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, social orders and structures, the spread of infectious diseases, and nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world (particularly relevant to Daryl Dixon, the latter asks, “Are squirrels really good for you?”).

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Image reveals first of 10 covers for ‘The Walking Dead’ #115

walking-dead115-a-cropped

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead in October — hey, that’s when the four season of the AMC TV show premieres! — the 115th issue will be released with 1o connecting covers, with each depicting a significant moment and a special moment from the past decade. All of them will be illustrated by Charlie Adlard and colored by Dave Stewart.

Each weekday for the next two weeks, Image Comics will reveal part of the connecting covers for Issue 115. Today’s peek resurrects a particularly painfully memory from the series’ third year. Check it out below. The Walking Dead #115 arrives Oct. 9.

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‘The Walking Dead’ returns to ‘Halloween Horror Nights’

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT THE WALKING DEADThe Walking Dead will return to Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” in September with new mazes inspired by the third season of the hit AMC drama.

The mazes at Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando will place visitors in the Prison — aka the West Georgia Correctional Facility — and then send them fleeing through the wilderness to the walled town of Woodbury, where even worse terrors reside.

And for the first time in the event’s 23-year history, all of the scare zones at Universal Orlando will feature a common theme, as visitors walking the streets of the park will come face to face with scenes from the television series’ first three seasons, including an overrun Atlanta and Hershel’s barn. Oh, and walkers — lots and lots of walkers.

“What’s great about working with a property like The Walking Dead is that each season presents new environments and characters for us to draw inspiration,” John Murdy, creative director for Universal Studios Hollywood, said in a statement. “With the prison as the main setting of Season 3, we seized this opportunity to recreate that very environment, down to the last detail, to be as genuine and authentic to the show as possible. Using movie-quality production value, our goal is to make guests feel as if they are mired in the world of blood-thirsty zombies, which is something you can only do at ‘Halloween Horror Nights.'”

“Halloween Horror Nights” begins Sept. 20.

‘The Walking Dead’ dominates bookstore sales in 2013

walking dead-compendium oneThe first two Walking Dead Compendium volumes have sold a combined 100,000 copies this year in bookstores, towering above the other titles on Nielsen BookScan’s list of the Top 10 bestselling adult graphic novels for the first half of 2013. With a suggested price of $59.99, Image Comics’ 1,088-page Compendium One is “by far” the most expensive book on BookScan’s Top 200 chart for adult fiction.

Graphic novel sales have increased 10 percent year over year, which the company seems to attribute in no small part to the performance of the collections of the long-running comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, and the popularity of the AMC television series.

Volumes of The Walking Dead accounted for four of the top five spots on the BookScan chart, a streak only interrupted by Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, Vol. 60, at No. 4. In fact, six of the Top 10 graphic novels were held by Image books, with another volume of The Walking Dead claiming the No. 7 spot, and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga, Vol. 1, slipping into the final slot with 15,000 copies; the remaining books are manga.

According to BookScan, The Walking Dead books have sold more than 1 million unites in the past 18 months, with Compendium One seeing “a 47 percent week-to-week sales lift” that coincided with the Season 3 finale of the AMC series in March.

Charlie Adlard’s Walking Dead 100 Project cover sells for $12,100

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Charlie Adlard’s cover for The Hero Initiative’s Walking Dead 100 Project sold this morning on eBay for $12,100, the most of any piece auctioned to date.

Image Comics printed blank covers for The Walking Dead #100, and The Hero Initiative commissioned 100 artists to create original drawings on them. The pieces have been auctioned online since June 4 at a rate of 10 covers a week, with the proceeds going to the industry charity, which provides a financial safety net for comics creators.

Adlard, who has drawn The Walking Dead since Issue 7 in 2004, is joined on the project by such artists as Kevin Eastman, Dale Keown, Peter Krause, Jeff Lemire, Ted McKeever, Mike Norton, Sean Phillips, Paolo Rivera, Fiona Staples and Ben Templesmith (you can see the full list of artists, and their entries, on the Hero Initiative website).

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SDCC ’13 | Kirkman’s Skybound reveals convention exclusives

skybound-twd guitar

Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment has announced exclusive merchandise for Comic-Con International that includes the Invincible Compendium One hardcover, The Walking Dead comic series PVC figure packs, and a limited-edition Peavey Predator full-size guitar with art by The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard.

Considering this year marks the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead, the PVC figures ($15 each or $100 for all nine) and the guitar ($500) are only the beginning of the items from the long-running horror/survival series. There’s also the Compendium Two hardcover with gold foil ($100), the Skybound-exclusive McFarlane Toys Governor action figure in riot gear ($25), and the “Horde” watch from Vannen, featuring more art by Adlard ($75).

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SDCC ’13 | Check out some of the art for the CBLDF auction

Art by Jill Thompson

Art by Jill Thompson

Retailer Things From Another World has again partnered with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund for the charity’s auction at Comic-Con International. For the fifth annual event, creators ranging from Jill Thompson and Jonathan Case to Roger Langridge and Charlie Adlard have donated artwork in an effort to raise more than $100,000 for the CBLDF.

Some five dozen artists are participating; you can see some of the artwork below and on the TFAW website. You can bid July 20 during the CBLDF Auction at Comic-Con.

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Prepare for apocalypse with ‘The Walking Dead’ debit cards

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If you’ve been dying for a way to let cashiers know of your love for The Walking Dead even as the flesh-eating hordes storm the counter, Card.com and Robert Kirkman’s Skybound have the solution: Walking Dead Visa prepaid debit cards.

“Having The Walking Dead art on these credit cards will be an exciting way for fans to incorporate the series’ art into their daily lives,” Kirkman says in the press release.

Fans have their choice of seven designs, all featuring Charlie Adlard art, but none really saying, “Consumerism!” More like, “Holy shit, where are all those walkers coming from?” There’s Rick Grimes on horseback entering a devastated Atlanta, Michonne baring her katana, and, well, lots and lots of the undead (including an image of Rick, Michonne, Andrea, Abraham and Morgan as walkers). You can see all of the designs here.

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Six free comics we can’t wait to get our hands on today

fcbd 2013Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.

Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.

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Quote of the Day | ‘We could literally kill Rick at some point’

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“I just think what he does is really brave. He really loves these characters as well, and it makes it unique that we’re able to do this. We could literally kill Rick at some point. I’m not going to say we are, but why not kill him? There’s no reason. The Walking Dead could easily survive without Rick, and I personally think it would be incredibly interesting. We could do it in some random issue where the reader isn’t expecting it, not like issue #150 or some anniversary issue. I think it would be very cool.”

The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, talking with Comic Book Resources about writer Robert Kirkman’s penchant for shocking readers in the popular horror comic

Robert Kirkman talks ‘The Walking Dead’ on ‘Conan’

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Robert Kirkman appeared last night on TBS’s Conan to discuss all things Walking Dead, from his wife’s distaste for his zombie franchise to rejected merchandising opportunities — perfume! energy drinks! — to host Conan O’Brien’s nitpicks, including why there are no undead animals.

“The honest answer to that is, The Walking Dead is based on a comic book,” Kirkman replied, “the artist that draws the comic book, Charlie Adlard, loves drawing people, loves drawing zombies, does not enjoy drawing animals so much.”

Watch the clips below.

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The Walking Dead’s new online hub launches Sunday

The Walking Dead #106

Robert Kirkman and Skybound Entertainment will debut a new digital hub for the hit Walking Dead franchise on Sunday, timed to coincide with the midseason premiere of the television adaptation.

According to USA Today, TheWalkingDead.com will contain information about the long-running Image Comics series, the AMC drama and the growing list of games (which include the recent Telltale episodic series, the Walking Dead: Assault app and Activision’s upcoming Survival Instinct). In addition, there will be special-event updates, wikis for character biographies, and, of course, a store for exclusive merchandise. At the moment, fans have to visit multiple websites for that information.

AMC’s The Walking Dead returns Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC. The Walking Dead #107, by Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, goes on sale Wednesday.

The secret to the record-breaking success of The Walking Dead

The second best-selling issue of The Walking Dead in 2012

Diamond Comic Distributors this week released its lists of the bestselling comics and graphic novels of 2012, and ahead of all the expected big titles from Marvel and DC was The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn. While the splashy headline is that The Walking Dead‘s 100th issue is the bestselling comic of the year — possibly of the past 15 years — what makes the achievement so remarkable is that the success is so thorough and consistent.

Not only did The Walking Dead top both the comic and the graphic novel lists, but nearly every conceivably qualifying product with the words The, Walking and Dead appears significantly high on both direct-market charts. Nine issues of the comic book are in the Top 300. In additional, all 17 volumes of the softcover trade paperback are among the Top 30 graphic novels, with Volume 1 claiming the top spot for the third year in a row. But wait, there’s more: Both oversized Compendiums, all eight hardcover collections and The Walking Dead Survivor’s Guide all appear elsewhere on the graphic novel chart. These are all remarkable achievements for an indie comic, and in many ways has primed the direct market for the success of Saga, Chew, Fatale and other titles that didn’t come from established franchises.

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Walking Dead #100 officially top-selling direct market comic of 2012

Just in case there were any lingering doubt, Diamond Comic Distributors has made it official: The landmark 100th issue of The Walking Dead was the top-selling comic in the direct market in 2012.

As we noted in August, the issue by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn set a new record for highest orders for a comic in a single month with an estimated 366,000 copies copies, beating The Amazing Spider-Man #583 (the Barack Obama issue, with 352,800 copies), the previous top seller for the 21st century, and The Darkness #11 (357,000), Image’s previous all-time top seller.

According to the distributor, comics book sales finished the year up nearly 15 percent over 2011, and graphic novels up more than 14 percent. Marvel was the top publisher, with a 34.06 percent dollar market share and a 37.59 percent unit market share. DC Comics followed at No. 2 with a 31.94 percent dollar market share and a 36.75 unit market share. Marvel also published nine of the Top 10 comics of 2012: Uncanny Avengers #1, Avengers vs. X-Men #1-6, The Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Avengers #1.

The Walking Dead, meanwhile, dominated the graphic novels chart, claiming seven of the Top 10 spots.

“2012 was a terrific year for comic books and graphic novels,” Diamond CEO Steve Geppi said in a statement. “Our publishers did a tremendous job of creating compelling storylines that comic book fans wanted to see – from Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men followed by its Marvel NOW! titles later in the year to DC’s powerful New 52 ongoing titles. Add in Dark Horse Comics’ horror line-up, IDW’s My Little Pony and Image Comics’ creator-driven hits and it was quite a year. In addition, I would like to mention what a wonderful job comic shop retailers did in 2012, by continuing to establish a great environment that readers and fans want to come and visit.”

What Are You Reading? with Gardner Linn and Dave Lentz

Signs and Meanings

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are Gardner Linn and Dave Lentz, the creative team behind the webcomic Registered Weapon — “the internet’s only webcomic starring a robotic cash register who fights crime.” They just kicked off their latest story, Case 006, on Nov. 12, and you can also download the first ten pages from their site if you prefer to read in bigger chunks.

To see what Gardner, Dave and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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